Message Boards Message Boards

Concentration

What works best dealing with anxiety?

What works best dealing with anxiety?
Answer
9/15/15 6:57 AM
Today after a long time only decaff I've had a cup of a rather strong coffee. With symptoms of heaviness in the chest  and shortness of breath, it was rather much dyscomfort and the mind not being able to concentrate or stay with one object. I tried just observing body sensations, then turning to outside senses, then reciting mantra. After coming home I've found some information that some psychologyst actually prescribes coffee as part of treatment. The goal? To help patients confront their fears head-on and learn to distinguish  real threat.
They don't feel great, but they learn they can have these feelings and nothing terrible happens," says Schmidt. "We could tell them that over and over again, but they've got to know it in their gut."
Some suggestions of what works best dealing with anxiety?

RE: What works best dealing with anxiety?
Answer
9/15/15 10:44 AM as a reply to Newer Member.
I've found some information that some psychologyst actually prescribes coffee as part of treatment. The goal? To help patients confront their fears head-on and learn to distinguish  real threat.
They don't feel great, but they learn they can have these feelings and nothing terrible happens," says Schmidt. "We could tell them that over and over again, but they've got to know it in their gut."
Some suggestions of what works best dealing with anxiety?
Having a coffee sounds like the technique of aversion therapy which can be effective. http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/anxiety/exposure-therapy-anxiety-disorders

For dealing with anxiety and depression in the context of meditation, I highly recommend "The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness" by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal and Jon Kabat-Zinn. http://www.amazon.com/The-Mindful-Way-Through-Depression/dp/1593851286. I've read it twice now, and you don't have to be depressed or have strong anxiety to benefit from the information, it's a good guide for handling strong mental states.

RE: What works best dealing with anxiety?
Answer
9/15/15 11:31 AM as a reply to C P M.
Thanks for advice, I'll take a look at these links. The issue with this state is that the mind just keeps on spinning and it inhibits from thinking clearly and making decisions.

I want to add that I've been trained in Goenka courses to observe the sensations with equanimity, but the tightness in the chest persists. Maybe it's a better idea to do some breathing exercises and try just release the tension, because having these sensations for a prolonged time just keeps the mind in a loop.

RE: What works best dealing with anxiety?
Answer
9/16/15 1:11 AM as a reply to Newer Member.
Heya,

I think the key to solving anxiety is positive, solution-based thinking.  Anxiety is just a loop where a problem is coming up over and over, and each solution is shot down before it's considered.  If you can't pinpoint exactly what you're anxious about, take some time to think about things you're good at, or the times you felt people really appreciated you, or various things you like and appreciate.  When an anxious thought comes up that's specific, change the way you're thinking about it into something positive.  Example: if you're thinking about giving a speech and you're worried about messing up, imagine yourself doing really well and people standing up and giving you applause at the end.  You can also imagine yourself fumbling a line and then continuing on without anyone caring.

The key is to get out of the loop that keeps saying, "Bad! Danger! Problem!"  I've been able to solve my own issues with anxiety doing this.

RE: What works best dealing with anxiety?
Answer
9/16/15 8:15 AM as a reply to Newer Member.
" Some suggestions of what works best dealing with anxiety?"

Don't know about 'best', but here's a little self-help technique that may be worth trying; a form of self-acupressure:

At a point on the palm-side of the wrist;
about at the wrist crease (there are often several of them, try all);
on the pinky-finger (ulnar) side of the hand;
there's a tendon at the edge, going from the wrist-bone there that sticks out a bit and extending up the fore-arm;
there's a slight depression there at the inner side of the tendon (away from the outer edge), often  visible when clenching the fist;
gently
press / rub that point --
    a) with the thumb of the other hand, if you're looking at it (palm towards face)
  or, if hand is facing down
    b) with the index or 3rd finger (of the other hand) wrapping around the pinky-side of the wrist;
(you may feel a pulse there)
and ease the breath, loosen a bit;
try 5, 10, 20 seconds – not too much or too hard…

Massaging that point on either hand; left might be more effective, as the "heart" channel follows the path where physical heart symptoms can arise (angina, heart attack, etc.) on the left arm.

It comforts the heart, so to speak. Useful when, say, stopped by traffic police, or in a legal deposition, or any situation with anxiety, or sense of  panic.

(There's also an area on the other edge of the wrist, the palmar thumbside (or radial side), near the crease, that can help 'unbind the chest', vs constriction, shortness-of-breath.)

The ulnar wrist point is called the "tonification point of the Heart channel" in classical Chinese medicine (point Heart-7, named shen men - 'spitit gate').

I think of it in the image Ondrea Levine (who with Stephen Levine, were teachers of mine) offered: "The divine mother always has her arms around you. All you have to do is remember to lay your head on her shoulder." A sort of new-age, perhaps Bhakti image.

Steven Levine taught about grief and dying, with Ondrea working some 30 years helping people in those situations. He started out working with Elizabeth Kuebbler-Ross, the Swiss doctor who pioneered what's become the "Hospice"movement. They also taught (books, workshops, audio tapes) on death and dying, and on the topic of relationships (famous book Embracing the Beloved -- Relationship as a Path of Awakening).

A teacher in acupuncture school referred to reading a Chapter in his (famous) book Who Dies? on pain and suffering – the point pain comes with having a body; suffering is optional and mind-made (a point well-know in DhO). A sequel to that book Healing into Life and Death is a series of talks and guided meditations,  one on dealing with afflictive emotions.

I read / listened / attended workshops with the Levine's over about 15 years before discovering that they were also advanced Buddhist practitioners and teachers (in the SpiritRock / Jack Kornfield circle). He was also a beatnik poet in San Francisco and Santa Cruz in the 1950's, in the circle of poets and writers like Alan Ginsberg, Jack Keruac, and Gary Snyder, who were known to toy with Buddist ideas. (Snyder later became a serious Buddhist scholar.)

Anyway, try, get to know that point on the wrist – it might well be a useful tool.

RE: What works best dealing with anxiety?
Answer
9/16/15 1:26 PM as a reply to Newer Member.
Newer Member:
Today after a long time only decaff I've had a cup of a rather strong coffee.
Is your problem just limited to caffeine?  Just don't have caffeine, as some people are fairly sensitive. 

If you are referring to a broader problem with anxiety, not limited to caffeine, I'd suggest looking into cognitive behavioral therapy or even medication. 

if you are meditating with symptoms of anxiety, you should really just try to be aware of it and also be aware of your reaction to it.  try to just let it be.  maybe change your focus to breath at the belly and try to let the breath relax the body, but you can't just "solve" it outright.

RE: What works best dealing with anxiety?
Answer
9/16/15 4:13 PM as a reply to Newer Member.
Newer Member:

I want to add that I've been trained in Goenka courses to observe the sensations with equanimity, but the tightness in the chest persists. Maybe it's a better idea to do some breathing exercises and try just release the tension, because having these sensations for a prolonged time just keeps the mind in a loop.

Another thing that I find helpful is intense exercise. It has to be intense - hard cardio for 45 minutes or so works (I do an interval cardio where I get my heart rate high then cool down a bit).  Also, heavy weight lifting works.  Sometimes it's difficult to see how these things help, but over time I can see a pattern.  Often the next day after a workout my mood is elevated (less anxiety, negative feelings...). I think of the exercise as resetting my physiology. Yoga can also help, for the last while I've been doing Ashtanga, so there is a cardio component, but there is also the getting at the tension in various parts of the body.  In the past, I've done hard martial arts training, and that really helps break up the tension. Exercise comes up as helpful in other threads as a good aid, and I certainly agree